Our next show, “Financing Your JD” runs down what you need to know about paying for your law school education. In this segment, Law School Podcaster Host/Producer, Bonnie Petrie, spoke to Stephen Brown, Assistant Dean of Enrollment Services at Fordham School of Law and Mark Kantrowitz, the publisher of two essential financial aid information and planning websites FinAid.org and Fastweb.org.
These experts detail the many financing options that will help you pay for law school and, not surprisingly, a lot of the focus is on federal student loan options. But, one thing that neither Brown nor Kantrowitz wants you to overlook is the completely free money that’s out there. This can be an overwhelming process. Kantrowitz says his website, Fastweb.org, can make finding free money a little less daunting. “There are a variety of fellowships available to help pay for law school, and the best way to find out about these awards is to search the Fastweb scholarship database, which includes not only undergraduate scholarships but also awards for graduate and professional students. This will match your background against each of the awards and show you a list of the awards for which you are qualified. Then it’s up to you to apply for them and hopefully get them. For example, I am aware of some law awards for minority students who are typically underrepresented in law schools.”
Some of these scholarships may be so small it seems like it’s not worth the trouble to apply. Fordham’s Brown says it is. “It adds up. Even if it’s $500 or $1000, its money that the student doesn’t have to earn on his own or borrow. Look under or sign up for the scholarship searches, poke around, ask around, really use the web as a resource for that. Anything to reduce debt is a good thing.” There is also the possibility you might qualify for or win a grant. “On a need basis or merit basis, and those very much vary by school, but some schools are offering lots of need money, some offering lots of merit money, and some places in between.”
Once you’ve exhausted all of your free money resources, it’s time to start looking at loans. We’ll preview more about that soon. We also get expert advice not only on financing options from Patricia Nash Christel, Sallie Mae’s expert in Saving, Planning, and Paying for college, but we also get important insight from Mike Spivey, the Assistant Dean for Career Services at Washington University Law School about assessing how financial aid considerations will impact your career choices.
Stay tuned for the full show, “Financing Your JD,” which runs down everything you need to know about paying for your law school education.